Fox News Poll: Voters say Obama has no Syria plan, Putin 'strong and shrewd'

Most American voters say the Obama administration doesn’t have a clear plan in Syria, and few are buying the president’s assertion that Russia is intervening there out of weakness.

The latest Fox News poll also finds that a 61-percent majority now says what happens in Syria is important for U.S. national security.  That’s up from 48 percent who felt that way two years ago.

Russia recently started a military offensive in Syria targeting U.S.-backed fighters who oppose President Bashar Assad.  President Obama says Russia is taking this action out of weakness.


But just 29 percent agree with Obama’s take that Russia is “weak and desperate.”  Some 46 percent think Russia’s action shows it is “strong and shrewd.”

At the same time, 70 percent feel the White House doesn’t have a clear strategy to handle the situation in Syria.

So it’s no surprise that, by a 53-22 percent margin, voters think Russian President Vladimir Putin has the upper hand in Syria.

The new poll, released Wednesday, shows 42 percent of voters approve of the job Obama is doing as president, while 53 percent disapprove.  Over the last year, approval of Obama has ranged from a low of 40 percent (October 2014) to a high of 47 percent (July 2015).  His record low rating of 38 percent approval vs. 56 percent disapproval was in early September 2014.

When voters are asked about the president’s handling of foreign policy, 52 percent say he is a “weak and indecisive leader.”  About a third calls him “strong and decisive” (32 percent).  A year ago it was 57 percent weak vs. 34 percent strong (September 2014).

More than two-thirds say the U.S. fight against ISIS is going badly (69 percent).  That includes 37 percent who say “very” badly, up from 28 percent in June.  A quarter thinks the fight is going well (3 percent “very” well and 22 percent “somewhat” well).

Almost all Republicans (90 percent) and most independents (69 percent) think the battle is going badly.  Among Democrats, opinion is divided:  46 percent say it’s going well, while 46 percent say badly.

The Fox News poll is based on landline and cell phone interviews with 1,004 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from October 10-12, 2015. The poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points for all registered voters.